It was ages ago: My boyfriend and I took a long trip to Europe, what most people will call “the ultimate test”. Are we going to kill each other, or at least think about it when spending every minute of every day together? Also, we were on a tight budget, and when I say budget, I mean using a burner to cook pasta on the side of the road or opening a can of sardines.
I think that was the time I was starting to develop a sense of style. I was so impressed by the shopping windows, the attention to details, the perfectly chic French women in the supermarket, and the attractive street fashion of the Italian men.
And then we get to Barcelona: Right before the Olympics games, it’s a madhouse. And somehow, I have found myself in a tiny little shop, with cool handmade sweaters. The store owner looked to me like an ancient man, he probably was 35 years old now that I am thinking about it. How do I always get in trouble with the locals? Anyway, I asked to try one of the green (yes, at the time I had colors in my closet) cardigans with a diamond shape pattern and beautiful wood buttons.
He looked at me surprised, very surprised, almost like I asked him to dance for me. He asked: “you”? I said, yes, me, I want to try it on. He said “this one”? I said YES! This one! Unwillingly, he helped me to put it on. I was so happy. I felt good, I felt stylish, I was going to splurge on that sweater. But then, this guy again, he was shaking his head.
He was not happy.
He said that this is a man sweater. The buttons are on the left side, it was too big. He was so upset. I said that it’s OK and I will buy it. You could see he almost got a heart attack. He refused!!! I kid you not. He refused.
Now I am in the same business and I, too, have my principles. So when someone asked me if an item was a dress I said no, it’s a top. And when she asked me if she could wear it as a dress I said it would be too short. And when she tried it on without her pants, I thought I had proven my point without a doubt. But then she told me she loved it (as a dress), and I knew that at this point I should shut up.
Back to Barcelona, we left the store. My boyfriend went back in and told the man that HE would like to buy the sweater for himself. This is something the man could live with. It was a quick deal.
30 Years later, I am still with the same guy but not with the sweater that I wore to death, and so excited to be carry with “NON-GENDER" collections (what we used to call "unisex"). It is not about breaking the rules, it's about not making them from the first place. We are not going to tell you not to wear a coat because it was made for men, it's a coat, it was made to make you warm...
Some people think it’s fun, some people don’t care and some people don’t get it. I hope you do!